What's in a Name? Lessons from Three Rebranding Exercises in India

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG184
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2006-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Hindustan Unilever Ltd; Axis Bank; Vodafone Plc.
Industry : Fast Moving Consumer Goods; Banking;
Telecom Countries : India

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Caselet 3: The Rebranding of 'Hutch' to 'Vodafone'

"[T]he normal Vodafone practice is to go from brand X to Vodafone X and then move onto Vodafone. I think the difference is in this market [India] from the others was they were not moving from a dog brand to a new super brand. The brand that they brought into [Hutch] already had a very substantial brand equity, it had a very high emotional connect with the customer; it was one of the most recognized brands in the country."39

- Asim Ghosh, Managing Director of Vodafone Essar, in September 22, 2007.

"[W]e were under pressure to not mess things up, considering that this is such a big brand we're talking of! But the most loved factor about Brand Hutch -the pug -itself was the solution to our dilemma... We want customers to know this brand just got better"40

- Rajiv Rao, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather, South Asia, in September 25, 2007.

On September 20, 2007, Vodafone Essar Ltd. (Vodafone Essar) officially rebranded the 'Hutch' brand to 'Vodafone' in India. Vodafone Essar was formed in May 2007 as the UK-based global telecom giant Vodafone Plc41 (Vodafone) acquired a controlling stake in the fourth-largest mobile communication service provider in India, Hutchison Essar Ltd.42 (Hutchison). Shortly after acquiring the company, Vodafone announced its intention to change the 'Hutch' brand to 'Vodafone' by the end of the year. Vodafone has operations in five continents. As of 2007, it had as many as 40 network partners and a customer base of approximately 200 million people in different regions of the world...

39] "Painting the Town Red: Hutch is Now Vodafone," www.moneycontrol.com, September 22, 2007.

40] Devina Joshi, "India Calling: Vodafone's Strategy, Unplugged," www.agencyfaqs.com, September 25, 2007.

41] Vodafone Plc, headquartered in London, UK, was the world's largest mobile communications company by revenue. In 2006, its revenue was 29.350 billion.

42] Hutchison Essar was the fourth largest mobile service provider in terms of customer numbers. It was a joint venture between Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecom International Ltd. (HTIL), and the Essar Group (Essar) of India. HTIL was the telecom business wing of the Hong Kong-based conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa, which had interests in Operating of ports, Retail, Property development, and Communications. Essar was an India-based conglomerate with interests in Steel, Energy, Power, Communications, Shipping and Construction.


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